Today our school joined with the Free The Children and Me to WE foundations and participated in the #WeAreSilent campaign with people from across the world. We Are Silent is about taking a stand against social issues such as child labour, poverty, hunger, homelessness, lack of education, health care, bullying, etc., and being a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.
This campaign originated from the Malala Fund, affiliated with Free The Children and Me to WE. Malala Yousafzai is a teenage Pakistanian girl who stood up and spoke out for the rights of young girls to have an education. She was shot one morning by the Taliban while on her school bus. She survived and her voice has become stronger. She speaks out for those who do not have a voice, because she knows what it is like to have someone try to silence her.
The We Are Silent event had a huge impact on our school and in my classroom in particular. A great discussion arose about the issues which concern my students and young people throughout the world and in our society today. Unfortunately, bullying has affected most of my students in one form or another. In many cases the students admitted to worrying that they won’t be listened to if they report the bullying, or that the bullying would worsen if they should say anything about it. Some also expressed a concern that they felt that sometimes it wasn’t certain that someone would actually listen to what they had to say anyway.
How many times have we, as adults, also felt like we did not have a voice, at least one that was heard? Sometimes we just need to know that we are important and that someone is listening to and understanding us. We may have simply had a bad day and we just need to find someone who will truly listen to our words, even if our words don’t make complete sense, even if our thinking (and speaking) is disjointed. There are other times when our mental health is hurting, when the days seem dark, and the promised light at the tunnel seems so very far away. It is those days that we also need someone to listen.
(photo courtesy of shutterstock)
Today I chose to be silent for those whose voices cannot be heard because they truly feel completely alone and that no one cares. I chose to be silent for the frightened, the lonely, and those without hope.
While I care deeply about the lack of education for girls in countries around the world, and the lack of clean water and food for families, as well as many other issues which plague children and families in the world today, I have always held a spot in my heart for those who feel that they don’t fit and that they don’t belong. This is why I personally feel the most like myself when I am working with children in my career and within my church as volunteer work. Children often are searching for their own place in the world and sadly many children aren’t always offered a sense of belonging. Within the church, especially with my efforts in children’s ministry, it is a wonderful feeling to share that we all belong to God as His own children. I have witnessed the light on children’s faces and the comfort in the faces of adults as they realize and come to know that there is a Love and a Hope that never ends.
Whatever your own beliefs are I believe that we all belong in this world together. We were all created and put here for a reason. We each have a purpose and have been put on this earth to help one another. No one is an island. We are not alone.
Today I am silent for those without a voice, without hope, without love, without the comfort of realizing that someone will listen. Today I am silent for those who feel alone, even when surrounded by people. Today I am silent for those with mental health issues that are afraid to reach out for help. Today I am silent for loved ones lost and loved ones who have lost their way.
Today I am silent, because sometimes silence speaks louder than words.